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Vodafone 'sets J. Telecom price'

J-Phone competes in the mobile phone market against DoCoMo and KDDI.
J-Phone competes in the mobile phone market against DoCoMo and KDDI.

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TOKYO, Japan -- Shares in third-ranked Japan Telecom are higher Monday after a report that British parent Vodafone Group has agreed to sell the company's fixed-line operations for 262 billion yen ($2.2 billion).

The sale, to U.S. investment fund Ripplewood Holdings, has been mooted for some time. Company president William Morrow said in late June a decision would be made during July.

Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile phone company, is looking to quit the Japanese fixed-line market so it can concentrate its resources on Japan Telecom's mobile phone arm, J-Phone.

J-Phone competes with KDDI and market leader NTT DoCoMo, the largest stock on the Japanese share market.

On a day when the Nikkei 255 average is 0.4 percent higher at midday, Japan Telecom is up 0.53 percent to 377,000 yen, DoCoMo is 2.5 percent higher to 284,000 yen and KDDI is up 0.6 percent to 488,000 yen.

According to the Nihon Keizai business daily, an official announcement on the sale is expected at the end of this month. Vodafone has not made any comment yet on the report.

The newspaper said Ripplewood would keep Morrow as CEO, and planned to expand Japan Telecom's operations in the data communications field.

Ripplewood would set up a fund to buy all of Japan Telecom Holdings Co.'s Japan Telecom shares and take management control, it said.

Vodafone would keep some ties with Japan Telecom by taking a stake of 10 to 20 percent in the fund.

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